Chole Kim is most widely known as the youngest female snowboarder that took home a gold medal during the 2018 Winter Olympics. For those not familiar with winter sports, it may seem like Chole appeared out of nowhere, when in reality she has been snowboarding for over a decade. Chole Kim was born in Long Beach, California. At only the age of four years old. Chole credits her snowboarding skills to her father, who was the first to introduce her to the sport. Her first competition was at age six, and she received her first medal just a year later at the junior nationals.

Snowboarding Training

At the age of eight, Chole went to Switzerland to live with a relative. She joined the Swiss snowboard team as a third-grader. During subsequent visits, her father realized she had the potential to compete in the Olympics. He eventually gave up his job to train her.

Once Chole moved back to Californa, she partook in a developmental program at Mammoth Mountain. Every weekend Chole’s father would drive 350 miles to Mammoth Mountain. Chole explains that during the long trips, her father wouldn’t even wake up her up and she would often wake up in new places.  Her father also taught her the useful skill of riding a board with either foot in the front position. Since Kim is also a skateboarder, this helped her succeed with snowboarding.

Competitive Snowboarding 

When she was 13, she competed at the X Games and won a silver medal. Before she turned 16, she earned three X-Games gold medals: one in 2015 and two the next year in Aspen and Oslo. No other athlete had earned three golds before that age point.

At age 15, she received a perfect score at the Park City U.S. Grand Prix. She performed two flawless 1080 moves back-to-back and was the first female snowboarder to achieve this honor. She participated in the Youth Olympic Games in 2016 in Norway where she won gold medals in slope-style and half-pipe snowboarding.

She qualified for the Sochi Olympics in 2014 but was too young to participate at only 13 years of age. Once she made her Olympic debut in 2018 in South Korea, her parents’ home country, she won a gold medal in the half-pipe snowboard competition. She was 10 points ahead of the second-place finisher.


She picked up her first sponsor at age 11. Before she won her first Olympic gold, she was worth approximately $400,000. This earned her a place on the Forbes 30-under-30 list in 2017. Kim also functions as Laneige’s first North American ambassador. She remains humble though and has always credited her father for her success.